Hungary suspends internet tax plan after mass protests

The draft law would impose a fee of 150 forints (£0.40) on each gigabyte of data transferred over the internet

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The Independent Online

The Hungarian government has suspended a plan to tax internet usage after mass protests against the idea.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the government would reconsider the controversial matter next year.

He said the tax would not be introduced today because “people have questioned the rationality” of the proposal.

The government would hold a national consultation from mid-January on the issue of internet taxation, he announced.

Around 100,000 Hungarians attended a rally protesting against the centre-right government’s plan in central Budapest on Tuesday evening.

Some protesters called on the Prime Minister to quit altogether.

The draft law, which has been criticised by the European Union, would impose a fee of 150 forints (£0.40) on each gigabyte of data transferred over the internet.

Protesters both objected to cost of the measure, but also the possibility that it could impact negatively on expression and access to information.

The proposal follows special taxes imposed on banking, retail, energy and telecoms, with the aim of eliminating the country’s budget deficit.

In his announcement, Mr Orban also restated his government’s plan to offer broadband internet to every household by 2020.

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